Photo: Daniel Fernandez Dominguez
A man suspected of participating in the 2010 kidnapping of Mexican political power broker and former presidential candidate Diego Fernandez de Cevallos has given a statement to the judge handling the case, the Federal Judiciary Council, or CJF, said.
Daniel Fernandez Dominguez appeared before a federal judge in Mexico state, which surrounds the Federal District and forms part of the Mexico City metropolitan area, on Sunday.
Fernandez Dominguez, who was arrested last Wednesday in the central Mexican city of Puebla, has been “identified as one of the associates of Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman Loera,” the leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel and Mexico’s most-wanted man, prosecutors said.
The judge is scheduled to issue a ruling in the case on Friday, deciding on whether to proceed against Fernandez Dominguez, the CJF said.
Fernandez Dominguez’s attorney asked the judge for an extension in the period for deciding his client’s judicial situation.
Fernandez Dominguez, who is being held at the maximum-security Altiplano prison in the city of Almoloya de Juarez, was arrested in a joint operation by marines and the federal Attorney General’s Office in Puebla state.
The suspected kidnapper was handed over to judicial authorities on Saturday night.
Fernandez Dominguez, known as “El Pelacas,” faces arms charges, officials said.
The leader of a criminal organization identified Fernandez Dominguez in 2011 as the individual behind the abduction of the 72-year-old Fernandez de Cevallos, known as “Jefe Diego” (Boss Diego), who was held captive for seven months.
Diego Fernandez de Cevallos, the candidate of the conservative National Action Party, or PAN, in the 1994 presidential election, disappeared on May 14, 2010, from his La Cabaña ranch near San Clemente.
The prominent attorney and political power broker was released on Dec. 20, 2010, after extensive negotiations between the kidnappers and his family, which asked the authorities to not intervene.
Fernandez de Cevallos has told Mexican media outlets on numerous occasions that he never heard of Fernandez Dominguez until another suspect mentioned his name.
A group calling itself Misteriosos Desaparecedores (Mysterious Disappearers) claimed responsibility for the kidnapping and released several statements during the politician’s captivity.
Media reports at the time of Fernandez de Cevallos’s release said he negotiated the ransom himself, persuading his kidnappers to accept $30 million instead of the $100 million they initially demanded.
Fernandez de Cevallos has been one of the most powerful figures in the PAN and Mexican politics over the past two decades.
Known for his fiery oratory, “Boss Diego” was a member of the lower house of Congress from 1991 to 1994 and a senator from 2000 to 2006.
He also runs a successful law firm that has represented both Mexico’s blue-chip corporations and reputed drug kingpins.